Corwin Hansch

Corwin Herman Hansch (October 6, 1918 – May 8, 2011)[1] was a Professor of Chemistry at Pomona College in California. He became known as the 'father of computer-assisted molecule design.'[2]

Corwin Hansch
Corwin Herman Hansch

(1918-10-06)October 6, 1918
DiedMay 8, 2011(2011-05-08) (aged 92)
Alma materUniversity of Illinois
New York University
Spouse(s)Gloria J. Hansch (nee Tomasulo) (m.1945?–2011) (his death) (1 child)
AwardsTolman Award (1975)
Scientific career
FieldsOrganic Chemistry
InstitutionsPomona College
Manhattan Project

Early life and childhoodEdit

He was born on October 6, 1918 in Kenmare, North Dakota.


He earned a B.S. from the University of Illinois in 1940 and a Ph.D. from New York University in 1944.


Hansch worked on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago and as a group leader at DuPont Nemours in Richland, Washington. In February 1946 he received an academic position at Pomona College.[3]

Hansch taught Organic Chemistry for many years at Pomona College, and was known for giving complex lectures without using notes. His course in Physical Bio-Organic Medicinal Chemistry was ground-breaking at an undergraduate level.

Hansch may be best known as the father of the concept of quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR), the quantitative correlation of the physicochemical properties of molecules with their biological activities.

He is also noted for the Hansch equation, which is used in

  • Multivariate Statistics - Multivariate statistics is a set of statistical tools to analyse data (e.g., chemical and biological) matrices using regression and/or pattern recognition techniques.
  • Hansch Analysis - Hansch analysis is the investigation of the quantitative relationship between the biological activity of a series of compounds and their physicochemical substituent or global parameters representing hydrophobic, electronic, steric and other effects using multiple regression correlation methodology.
  • Hansch-Fujita   constant - The Hansch-Fujita   constant describes the contribution of a substituent to the lipophilicity of a compound.

Research Interests: Organic Chemistry; Interaction of organic chemicals with living organisms, Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSAR).


He died of pneumonia on May 8, 2011 in Claremont, California at 92.[1]


His research group at Pomona College worked on QSAR studies and in building and expanding the database of chemical and physical data as C-QSAR and Bioloom. His postgraduate associates were Rajni Garg, Cynthia R. D. Selassie, Suresh Babu Mekapati, and Alka Kurup.

The Journal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design carried four obituaries (as found in a Pubmed personal subject [ps] search).[4][5][6][7]

Among his students at Pomona was Jennifer Doudna, co-recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Doudna has credited Hansch as an influence.[8]


A preliminary search in WorldCat and in PubMed, two among many relevant bibliographic and citation indexes, shows the following:

  • Books: WorldCat shows "53 works in 204 publications in 4 languages and 2,004 library holdings" for Hansch as "author, editor, other".[9] The top item in the list is "Exploring QSAR" by Corwin Hansch, Albert Leo and David Hoekman, an ACS professional reference book in 28 editions published between 1995 and 2014.
  • Journal articles: 281 Pubmed records[10]
  • Reviews: authored 33 reviews as indexed in Pubmed[11]
  • Title word search: 56 Pubmed records[12]

The Pomona College Archives holds reprints of Hansch’s articles published between 1962 and 2009 in addition to other materials.[2]


  1. ^ a b Maugh, Thomas H. [II] (May 31, 2011). "Corwin Hansch dies at 92; scientist whose advances led to new drugs and chemicals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b Weber, Jamie (2013). "Guide to the Corwin Hansch Collection" (PDF). Pomona College Archives. Claremont, CA 91711. p. 3. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  3. ^ "1975 Tolman Award Medalist, Dr. Corwin Hansch, Carnegie Professor of Chemistry, Pomona College". Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society. 22 August 2013.
  4. ^ Martin, Yvonne C (Jun 29, 2011). "Remembrances of Corwin Hansch". J Comput Aided Mol Des. 25 (6): 519–523. Bibcode:2011JCAMD..25..519M. doi:10.1007/s10822-011-9452-y. PMID 21713458. S2CID 35854016.
  5. ^ Martin, Yvonne C; Stouch, Terry (June 28, 2011). "In tribute to Corwin Hansch, father of QSAR". J Comput Aided Mol Des. 25 (6): 491. Bibcode:2011JCAMD..25..491M. doi:10.1007/s10822-011-9449-6. PMID 21710390.
  6. ^ Fujita, Toshio (June 22, 2011). "In memoriam professor Corwin Hansch: birth pangs of QSAR before 1961". J Comput Aided Mol Des. 25 (6): 509–517. Bibcode:2011JCAMD..25..509F. doi:10.1007/s10822-011-9450-0. PMID 21695492. S2CID 9840489.
  7. ^ Selassie, Cynthia Rachel (June 21, 2011). "Obituary: Corwin H. Hansch". J Comput Aided Mol Des. 25 (6): 493–494. Bibcode:2011JCAMD..25..493S. doi:10.1007/s10822-011-9445-x. PMID 21691812. S2CID 207165325.
  8. ^ Marino, M. (2004). "Biography of Jennifer A. Doudna". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 101 (49): 16987–9. Bibcode:2004PNAS..10116987M. doi:10.1073/pnas.0408147101. PMC 535403. PMID 15574498.
  9. ^ "[WorldCat search - books authored, edited, contributed]". WorldCat. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "281 articles, author search". Pubmed. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  11. ^ "33 authored reviews". Pubmed. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  12. ^ "title word Pubmed records". PubMed. Retrieved 5 August 2016.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit